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We'll soon have more batteries than we need

nwdiver

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Feb 17, 2013
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All The Energy Storage The Grid Needs Will Soon Be Under Our Noses

The International Energy Agency’s most conservative estimate puts 130 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, and Gorguinpour said those vehicles will contain almost ten times the amount of energy storage needed by the grid.

I've always thought ~daily - weekly is going to be 'easy'. The hard part is seasonal. How do we shift 10TWh from April to August..... IMO power to gas is the final piece of the puzzle.
 

mspohr

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Jul 27, 2014
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California
I've always thought ~daily - weekly is going to be 'easy'. The hard part is seasonal. How do we shift 10TWh from April to August..... IMO power to gas is the final piece of the puzzle.
So you're thinking that April sun and wind would be surplus that would be needed in August heat? Undoubtedly there will be seasonal surpluses and deficits which will vary by region. I haven't seen any recent analysis of this. Long term storage (gas, hydro, etc.) would be one solution. Long distance transmission is another.
The thing that was interesting to me about this story is the magnitude of storage available in car batteries. When I think about it, my car could power my house for 3 to 6 days (depending on season and how frugal I was with energy).
 
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ItsNotAboutTheMoney

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Jul 12, 2012
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I've always thought ~daily - weekly is going to be 'easy'. The hard part is seasonal. How do we shift 10TWh from April to August..... IMO power to gas is the final piece of the puzzle.

Or May to January.

#heatingisharderthancooling

Power-to-methane or any other cheap form of long-term heat storage would do.
Natural gas demand rises due to additional need for heat and power. The majority is related to heating demand.
 

iPlug

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Sep 14, 2019
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701
Rocklin, CA
As renewables continue to become more affordable, the better solution may be to built lots of generational overcapacity to cover peak seasons and emergency scenarios.

In that case, some non-traditional buyer may be interested in seasonally and hour intermittently absorbing the periodic excess production such as for reverse osmosis at industrial scale.
 

Missile Toad

Member
Aug 30, 2016
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572
Houston
As renewables continue to become more affordable, the better solution may be to built lots of generational overcapacity to cover peak seasons and emergency scenarios.
It seems that you could halve your risk of nuclear accidents if you only operated the nuclear plants half of the year. Maybe they would last longer too. That way, you don't have to remove farmland from production with as much space devoted to solar. Think of it like a tag team of solar, wind and nuclear.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,159
10,657
California
It seems that you could halve your risk of nuclear accidents if you only operated the nuclear plants half of the year. Maybe they would last longer too. That way, you don't have to remove farmland from production with as much space devoted to solar. Think of it like a tag team of solar, wind and nuclear.
I don't think nuclear plants work that way. They are designed to run continuously and at full output. They're hard to shut down and restart. No advantage in having an idle nuclear plant.
Just build more wind and solar.
Nobody is talking about removing farmland from production. Lots of space for solar and windmills on roofs and vacant land, oceans, etc.
 

vanzandtj

Member
May 10, 2019
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Nashua NH
It's awkward for a water-cooled nuclear reactor to ramp up or down rapidly to follow the load, and since it's an expensive plant with low fuel cost, it's normally thought better to keep it at full production. Nevertheless, they can be designed for load-following, and some of the French reactors are managed that way. A molten salt reactor will automatically load-follow. If the load is reduced, then less heat is removed from the reactor, the salt heats up and expands, so the fuel in the reactor gets less dense, and the reactivity goes down.
 

Missile Toad

Member
Aug 30, 2016
601
572
Houston
It's awkward for a water-cooled nuclear reactor to ramp up or down rapidly to follow the load, and since it's an expensive plant with low fuel cost, it's normally thought better to keep it at full production. Nevertheless, they can be designed for load-following, and some of the French reactors are managed that way. A molten salt reactor will automatically load-follow. If the load is reduced, then less heat is removed from the reactor, the salt heats up and expands, so the fuel in the reactor gets less dense, and the reactivity goes down.
I visited the Hoover dam, which was built in the 1930s, and the story I got is that the volume of concrete poured was so much, that the concrete is still curing, and getting stronger, to today. It seems to me, that a nuclear power-plant's concrete components ought to last centuries, and that significant cost savings could occur by retrofitting the pressure vessels, plumbing, valves and other corroded parts every 50 years or so. This would allow the reactor to operate seasonally, and adapt to the changing weather conditions in much the same way that Hoover dam has adapted to decreased water flows in the last couple of decades. Importantly, the volume of nuclear waste would diminish corresponding to the degree to which the reactor responds to power-replacement from wind, solar, hydro, etc.

Rapid ramping is unnecessary, when you have suitable natural gas plants that can ride the 'waves', while nuclear respond to the 'tides', so to speak.
 
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nwdiver

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Feb 17, 2013
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It seems to me, that a nuclear power-plant's concrete components ought to last centuries, and that significant cost savings could occur by retrofitting the pressure vessels, plumbing, valves and other corroded parts every 50 years or so.

There's a lot that 'seems' like it should work but the numbers simply aren't there...

Look at this sexy power plant. ~$6B to construct... Energy generated so far: 0kWh. Even after all that long lasting concrete was put in place the cost to finish and operate it was still more than the market could bare and the market is getting worse. Recently a real estate investor placed the winning bid... for $111M.

Bellefonte_Nuclear_Power_Plant.jpg
 

Missile Toad

Member
Aug 30, 2016
601
572
Houston
@nwdiver , looks like someone could write a book about Bellefonte's economics versus the Vogtle construction just 300 miles up the road. Its surprising that with labor costs probably about the same, and selling into a similar electricity market, that one plant would fail, while another succeeds. I suspect, that a lot has changed in the engineering and safety designs between the two sites -- owing to 30 years of world-wide experience between breaking ground on each. Without knowing more, I blame the design changes for the difference between each.
 
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ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,325
7,403
Maine
It seems that you could halve your risk of nuclear accidents if you only operated the nuclear plants half of the year. Maybe they would last longer too. That way, you don't have to remove farmland from production with as much space devoted to solar. Think of it like a tag team of solar, wind and nuclear.

Agrivoltatics is an interesting area of research. That seeks to combine solar and farming using elevated panels. With the right crops, it actually increases yield, with some sacrifice of solar production.
 
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iPlug

Member
Sep 14, 2019
485
701
Rocklin, CA
Thinking more about renewable supply/demand issues with seasonality....

Batteries seem like a cost effective renewable solution for buffering for a few hours, days, maybe up to a few weeks. But months?

Surplus generation will become a worsening issue during pleasant spring months with copious solar and wind generation but relatively weak demand at those times. It's hard to imagine an affordable battery or other buffering solution to push this through many months at a time.

It seems no low budget solutions are immediately at hand, but seasonal renewable solutions will need to happen. As in nwdiver's wind thread, a big step in the right direction would be to get offshore wind going in the U.S., something we are woefully behind in. More heat pumps will be coming online over the next few decades to replace NG heating of air/water and there will be some increased electricity use with transition to induction cooking. Offshore wind could alleviate be a big chunk of the winter seasonal demand we will need down the road.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
7,644
9,776
United States
Thinking more about renewable supply/demand issues with seasonality....

Batteries seem like a cost effective renewable solution for buffering for a few hours, days, maybe up to a few weeks. But months?

Surplus generation will become a worsening issue during pleasant spring months with copious solar and wind generation but relatively weak demand at those times. It's hard to imagine an affordable battery or other buffering solution to push this through many months at a time.

It seems no low budget solutions are immediately at hand, but seasonal renewable solutions will need to happen. As in nwdiver's wind thread, a big step in the right direction would be to get offshore wind going in the U.S., something we are woefully behind in. More heat pumps will be coming online over the next few decades to replace NG heating of air/water and there will be some increased electricity use with transition to induction cooking. Offshore wind could alleviate be a big chunk of the winter seasonal demand we will need down the road.

I think a lot of 'storage' discussions take a far too narrow view of the objective. Storage is a tool not the goal. The goal is to shift load from one time to a different time. This can be done in many... many ways and if a list were created bi-directional batteries may not even make the top 10.

We may see energy intensive industries shift to being more seasonal. Maybe Aluminum smelting will only occur in the spring and fall. But... first we need ample curtailment of wind or solar to even make such endeavors economically feasible. So in many way's we're worrying about a doctoral thesis for a 6 year old. Maybe a good idea to think about but lots of other things are going to occur first before it's useful.
 

iPlug

Member
Sep 14, 2019
485
701
Rocklin, CA
I think a lot of 'storage' discussions take a far too narrow view of the objective. Storage is a tool not the goal. The goal is to shift load from one time to a different time. This can be done in many... many ways and if a list were created bi-directional batteries may not even make the top 10.
Completely agree.

We may see energy intensive industries shift to being more seasonal. Maybe Aluminum smelting will only occur in the spring and fall. But... first we need ample curtailment of wind or solar to even make such endeavors economically feasible. So in many way's we're worrying about a doctoral thesis for a 6 year old. Maybe a good idea to think about but lots of other things are going to occur first before it's useful.
Also agree with seasonal load shifting where there is industrial flexibility to do so, as you describe.

What I was getting at is specifically the winter months. Most residential and commercial entities use more energy for heating than cooling. Certainly we are years away from that being a problem on the generation side if wide-spread heat pump adoption happens soon enough. But there is much less flexibility in demand shifting when it comes to heating/cooling than a potential seasonal industry like smelting or reverse osmosis.

If we are going to wean ourselves off NG, heat pump heating will have to grow robustly. And if that happens, summer-high demand/winter-low demand electricity use will flip to summer-high/winter-highest.

Winter months don't seem like a problem for years from now. But like the duck curve, that seemed a bit far off 10 years ago - but it's already here and introducing new challenges.
 
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